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tv   House Judiciary Hearing on Voting Discrimination  CSPAN  September 13, 2019 3:05pm-5:00pm EDT

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voting discrimination, witnesses discuss state voting laws since 2013 shelby county v. holder decision, section 4 of the voting rights act was unconstitutional. witnesses include ncaap president derrick johnson and public interest legal foundation president jay christian adams. this is just short of 2 hours. [inaudible conversations] >> we don't have a gavel, so committee on constitution civil rights and civil liberties is called to order. without objection the chair can declare recess at any time.
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welcome everyone to today's hear ing. evidence on current and ongoing voting discrimination, i recognize myself for opening statement. today's hearing on evidence of current and on going voting discrimination is part of hearings on house judiciary subcommittee to assess the current need for a reinvigoration of section 5 of voting rights act 65 to consider other ways to strengthen the civil rights extension, i'm not sure why we rereinvigoration, that seems one of the words that we toss around, not really invigoration, degradation, section 4 was cut out, so we need to have a section 4 to activate section 5, section 5 has been made dormant by the supreme court so we need to find
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new test to awaken the dormant power of section 5. voting rights act of 65 widely considered the most effective civil right statutes enacted by congress. the act was successful and in expanding federal authority to protect the fundamental right to vote, one of the central enforcement provisions section 5 preclearance provision. provisional by certain jurisdictions with history of voting discrimination against racial and language minority groups, predominantly those ended to be in the deep south to obtain approval of any changes to voting laws or procedures from the department of justice or u.s. district court for the district of colombia, before those changes could take effect. purpose of requirement was to ensure that jurisdiction that were most likely discriminated against minority voters shown by finding of congress would bear the burden of proving that each change of voting laws were not discriminatory before such changes could take effect and therefore not discriminate, in
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fact, against evil that they shouldn't be taking that action against. it provided a mechanism to assure that the new voting rules and practices of jurisdictions with history of discrimination would appear to all voters, we had this, we passed voting rights act in '65, it was renewed, jurisdictions and then in 2013? shelby v. holder, what we did in the past, chairman of the committee and with this house did by vote like 390 something to 33 in the senate by 98 to nothing was not adequate. finding by the congress of legislative -- legislative action was not sufficient, that the court which is generally kind of says difference to congress was going to jump in and put its opinion above congress, so what the preclearance requirement did it prevented discriminatory voting practices which was the purpose
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of these laws so that would have found the courts, and this way preclearance proved to be protection of rights of minority voters, this is why congress repeatedly reauthorized provision, in 2006, 390 to 33, the house and senate was 98 to nothing. supreme court gutted section 5, government county versus holder, coverage formula, section 4 and determined which jurisdictions were subject to preclearance requirements, remains dorm deputiant -- dormant and we have show that we have taken information and findings based on fact. we've heard before so far this year on voting rights, most recently in memphis tennessee and we will further learn in
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today's hearing, shelby decision we have seen formerly covered and implemented voting measures, north carolina, for example, passed the sweeping voting suppression law that held to be unconstitute identificational that it targeted african americans and by doing it after they put it into effect they had their desire effect to limit african-american voting. the voodoo they do so well. impossible to for minorities to vote. target racial and ethnic and photo id's, restrictions of exfelon, make it harder for ethnic minorities to vote. last week in memphis we learned about tennessee's third-party
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registration law that would impose penalties like league of women voters who work to register new voters, made it criminal for people to do so, back in may about texas and many other examples of voting discrimination and we see states engage in racial gender gerrymandering and absence of effective preclearance formula, there's almost certainty that the discriminatory measures undermine language minority voters, while section 2 of voting rights act which prohibits discrimination it is by itself significantly more cumbersome and expensive to enforce the voting rights act, requiring discrimination victims solely on such a remedy.
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i thank witnesses and members to being here today, i would like to recognize ranking member mr. johnson for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate you all for being here as the minority party on this committee, a couple of things that we want to say at the outset as we begin the hearing, first of all, let's be clear about this, we all agree that discriminatory treatment in voting based on race or sex is prohibited by the constitution as it should be and it's prohibited by federal statute as it should be. but too often complaints of discrimination and voting have nothing to do with discriminatory treatment, rules entirely neutral claim to be
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discriminatory simply because they have impact on one group or another. desperate impact claim are a form of identity politics and contradict, for example, dr. martin luther king's to focus on consciousness. signed promiseory note which every american was heir, was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as that white men would be guarantied rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. dr. king said it well. changes of the law, we just believe genuinely they pro-vert
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the language and this impact is not proof of discrimination and, indeed, they are statistically inevitable, as thomas has explained, if several criteria need to be met for any given outcome and this requires voting requirements as well, any group meeting those criteria will produce different outcomes for the group generally, the problem with desperate impact theory and voting right context is that it's often use to impute racism or discrimination, but there are thousands of reasonable reasons and neutral voting rule might have desperate impact, reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination, for example, the department of justice letter to preclear south carolina's voter id law in voting act in 2011 -- in 2011, the department claimed in a letter, quote, minority registered voters were nearly 20% more likely to be disenfranchised, unquote, with the law because they like the
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driver's license, the difference between white and african american holders was 1.6%, the justice department used 20% figure that 8.4 of white registered voters lack any form of dmv issued id, compared to 10% of nonwhite registered voters, the number 10 is 20% larger than the number 8.4. it's true mathematically that 10 the 20% larger than 20.4, 19% larger but the justice department rounded it up but distorts difference in driver's license rates used to take falsely declare south carolina law as objectionable. what other factors might then explain differences an outcome among demographic groups, let's give another example, younger people across racial groups are likely least to have driver's license, african americans have more younger people in
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demographic group, however, slight is indeed the case. as the facts follow this is due to demographics and not discrimination. the desperate impact approach to civil rights and assumption that different outcome is result of prejudice is unsound the same reason social sciences are trained that correlation does not imply causation. in other words, all sorts of correlation between one event and another and that doesn't answer the question as to why that correlation exists. my point again is not voting discrimination has disappeared forever, we know it hasn't, my point is only the desperate impacts can't be meaningfully used to prove voting discrimination, voting based on race, section 3 of the voting rights act which is permanent federal statutory law remains in place and in full effect, just a couple of years, for example, district court judge issued opinion in redistricting case that required pasadena, texas to be monitored by the justice department because it had
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intentionally changed the city town district to decrease hispanic influence, the city court ruled, quote, long history of discrimination against minorities, unquote, was required to have future voting rules changed, changes precleared by the department of justice for the next 6 years during which time the federal judge retained jurisdiction through enforcement of any change in pasadena on december 1, 2013. the change to city's commission plan can be enforced without review by the judge only if it has been submit today attorney general and department of justice has not objected within 60 days. i support section 3 and its application to proven instances of discriminatory and i look forward hearing witnesses. >> i recognize the gentleman from much of new york, manhattan, east side, west side,
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east side, mr. nadler for opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, let me express my appreciation to you for hosting us at hearing on voting rights in memphis last week, since the supreme court's decision shelby county versus holder, voting rights act of 1965, preclearance requirement, you have seen a troubling trend, localities in particular those who were formerly subject to preclearance requirement have enacted or engaged in voter suppression tactics such as burdensome proof of citizenship laws, closures, voter roles, restrictions in absentee ballots, difficult to restore the voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals, the crimes with voting restrictions have negative impact, racial and language minority voters, in contrary to what we just heard, impact is very, very much a very
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useful tool, in the most recent elections in november 2018, voters across the country experienced various barriers to voting because state and local laws and circumstances that made it harder even impossible to vote. for example, we heard last week during field hearing in memphis that under the state's exact law 53,000 voter registers, 70% of whom were african american, were placed in pending status and risk of not being counted by the secretary of state, was also the republican nominee for governor in the same election because of minor misspellings on registration forms, the federal court ultimately put a stop to this practice because of the, quote, differential treatment inflicted on group of individuals were predominantly minorities, unquote, four days staff election and long period of confusion.
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section 5 requires jurisdictions with discrimination, it is worth why it was enacted in the first place, before vra many states and localities passed voter suppression laws, it could take many years before laws could be challenged in court if at all. one overturned and another enacted, discriminatory game, section 5 preclearance provision broke and helped stop discriminatory practice, indeed, the success of the voting right act was apparent almost after the law went into effect, registration of african-american voters and number of african-american elected in office rose dramatically after
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enactment section 5. the successes could not have happened without vigorous enforcement of the voting rights act, particularly of preclearance provision. shelby decision unconstitutional, determined which jurisdictions would be subject to the preclearance requirement, effectively suspending the operation of the preclearance requirement of itself and absence game as returned with vengeance. not surprisingly within 24 hours of the shelby decision, north carolina assembly announced they would reinstitute voter id laws. federal held to be intentionally racially discriminatory and not disparity, intentionally racially discriminatory and between years enactment and the court's final decisions, states and localities held election over discriminatory laws remain
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in place and many people denied rightful right to vote, in short before the racial discrimination could be stopped, the damage had already been done. the voting rights act is of political importance, in 2006 when i was ranking member of the sub commit, -- commit yes we took process and the requirement expired. at the time we found that many covered jurisdictions are still facilitating ongoing discrimination, for instance, these states in subdivisions continue to engage in racial selective practices such as relocating polling places for african american voters and in the case of localities, simply to satisfy white suburban voters to circumvent ability for
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african americans to run for elected offices in the city, those seeking to enforce vra can still pursue after the fact legal remedies even without preclearance time and experience have proven that such an approach is no longer, it is far more expensive than having effective preclearance regime and once the vote is denied, it cannot be recast. both chambers of commerce who come together and pass legislation to restore the vra to its full vitality, today's hear willing provide additional opportunity to renew understanding of the importance of the voting rights act and preclearance provisions which is to support efforts of legislative solution. i look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses, to her about on going to the voting discrimination by states and localities. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. collins, ranking member has a statement to produce for the record. [inaudible conversations] >> we welcome our witnesses and thank them for participating in today's hearing, written statements will be in the record, there's a timing light on your table. light switches from green to yellow, means you have one minute left just like a traffic light, turns red, trouble. 5 minutes expired. i remind every witness that your statements made to subcommittee are subject to penalties of perjury, 18usc20001, imprisonment of 5 years or both, fine of -- that will not likely be. our first witness anita, officer of conference on civil and human rights, previously she served as assistant to attorney general
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and acting assistant attorney general and head of civil rights division that the u.s. department of justice department during obama administration, received law degree from new york university school of law in which mr. nadler's district and undergraduate receive in magna cum laude with yale university which could be mr. nadler's district too. you're recognized for 5 minutes. [laughter] >> chairman nadler, chairman cohen, ranking member jonson and member offense the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today, thank you chairman for your leadership, the vra are considered one of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation in our history, not long ago just in 2006 the very body reauthorized the vra with sweeping bipartisan support but in 2013 five
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justices to have supreme court gutted the most powerful provisions, preclearance system. section 5 enabled the federal government to block proposed discriminatory voting restrictions in places with the most pervasive histories of discrimination, it also ensures that changes to voting rules, republic, transparent and protect voters against discrimination based on race and language. when i served in the justice department we relied on section 2 of the vra to help mitigate the damage done by the shelby county decision, we challenged discriminatory laws in north carolina and texas in immediate after math of the decision and we were successful, courts found intentional discrimination and found intentional discrimination in at least 9 federal court cases since shelby county decision. litigation can take years, elections are taking place and millions of voters can be
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disenfranchise with mo -- no remedy. so the reality is section 2 just simply is no substitute for the need to restore the section 5 preclearance provision. restoring preclearance is all the more important under an administration that refuses to challenge discriminatory voting measures not a single case has been open including barriers to voter registration, restrictive voter id requirements in polling place closures which i want to focus on today, polling place closures and consolidation can be tactic for disenfranchising voters particularly voters of color, older voters, rural voters and voters with disability and since the shelby decision jurisdictions are closing polling places at an alarming speed, this morning the leadership conference education fund released democracy diverted ground-breaking report that analyzes polling places in 757 counties that had once been covered by section 5, we found
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that 1,688 polling places were closed between 2012 and 2018. the report also analyzes polling place reductions in the years between the 2014 and 2018 midterm election, we found 1,173 fewer polling places in 2018 despite significant increase in voter turnout, overall, texas alone closed 750 polling places, arizona closed 320, georgia 214, louisiana, mississippi, north carolina and alabama trailed behind them. the crisis also extends beyond states formerly covered by section 5, our campaign all voting local identified similar trends in ohio, between 2016 and 2018 county which is home to cleveland eliminated 41 polling locations, the bulk of which happened in majority black wards, now, of course, valid reasons for polling place closures but it's important to recognize that these closures are taking a place in preventing
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voters from voting, without preclearance states cannot evaluate impact and potential harms of polling place closures, as our report closures mean long lines at polling places, transportation hurdles and has confusion where eligible voters may cast their ballots, for many people these voters may get harder or impossible to vote, some jurisdictions cite verbal modernization, by mail as justifies for poll low sures and it's far from racially neutral n arizona all voting is local found 96% of nonnative americans live on a u.s. postal service route while only 26% of native americans live on a u.s. postal service carrier route, before the shelby decision scrutiny of voting changes under section 5 ensure that polling place reductions did not discriminate against voters of color and
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credible protection no longer exists and the consequences on voter access are devastating, this is why the leadership conference recommends that the subcommittee, urges subcommittee to pass hr4 to restore voting right acts based on conditions today, while there's justifiable conditions on polling places, the sheer scale of closures we identified coupled with other efforts to deny rights to people of color demand response and coalition to expanding franchise and look forward to looking with you the day reforms are signed into law, thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. derrick johnson is our next witness, chief executive offer of ncaap, position he held since october 2017, he previously served as vice chairman and president of miami dade conference, mr. johnson received jd from south texas college of
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law, undergraduate from jacksonson, mississippi, mr. johnson, come from our part of the world, welcome. >> good morning, chairman cohen, chairman nadler, ranking member johnson and member it was sub commit, thank you for inviting me to testify. for background i've spent more than 2 decades in mississippi which has been front and center in the fight for voting rights. allow me to get to the point, our democracy is in crisis, we are 6 years, 2 months, 16 days until the shelby county ruling. this was the worst attack on democracy in modern history, the ink wasn't even dry before the flood gates of voter suppression opened. chief justice john roberts was dead wrong when he said in shelby county that our county -- our country has changed, just take a look around, it most
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certainly has not. voter suppression has become ramp and instead where it's occurring, let's ask where is it not. i would like to make 5 points here, first, the assault on democracy conducted by states and local jurisdictions, much attention is focused on statewide efforts to suppress the vote but can happen in every community, secondly today's disenfranchisement takes many forms, adaptive and pervasive. these are just a few stringent voter id requirements like in -- like north carolina which we challenged and which a court found targeted african americans with precision, voter roles, we are seeing in ohio right now, massive closures of polling places in communities of color,
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short voting periods and elimination of sunday voting, group to register voters like the ones we had to challenge in tennessee. thirdly, no defense, voter suppression is often done in the name of combating voter fraud. let's be clear, this is not a real problem, reports of voter fraud is about as common as reports of alien abduction, even trump had to disbanded voting mission because fraud does not exist. fourth, while voting discrimination was well documented in states subject to preclearance under voting rights act it has spread like a cancer in other states never subject to coverage, the tragic fact is that no community is immune, everyone everywhere must remain vigilant. finally, question not address this alone, my testimony entered into the record discusses vast
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efforts of our legal department inconjunction with other legal organizations on the ground to combat voter suppression,tial by county eliminated the preclearance requirement and trump's department is missing in any enforcement. protect the right to vote. to be clear, we are fighting back wherever and whenever we can. this is not sustainable, congress must step up to combat this nation's epidemic. congress must pass voting right, make no mistake, congress has simple evidence to restore the voting right's act given the daily experiences of committee with voter suppression in the lead up to and on election day, no one can deny the strong record that supports immediate
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passage, congress must also pass for the people act, voting must be simplified, access access ex, this bill would make it easier to cast a vote and make sure that -- that vote is counted. finally, congress must pass securing federal election act, the safe act would help elections secure and free from foreign intervention, interference that disproportionately targets african americans, he said, they're doing it as we sit here, we must defend our democracy, period. this year the ncaap celebrated 100than versery, -- anniversary, it's time for congress to protect the priority. in mississippi what i experienced over the last 20 years is what i'm watching across the country.
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if we do not stand up to protect democracy and make it work today, who will and how can we ever have a true representative government, thank you for allowing know testify, i welcome any questions. >> thank you, mr. johnson and i will mention that in memphis, location that houses the election commission downtown was dedicated yesterday as the james meredith building in honor. director of voting right's project at american civil's union, supervises voting rights litigation and advocacy working right and testified on nationwide issues before this congress and state legislatures, adjunct clinical professor of university school of law, jd
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yale law school and prince toan, you're -- princeton, you're recognized for 5 minutes. >> members to have subcommittee, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today, many name is dale. ruth bader ginsburg warned of people court decision striking down in shelby county v. holder, throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm, sure enough, downpour came with wave of discriminatory, we have opened new voting rights investigations and cases, most recent department of commerce, the state of new york, case that i argued before the supreme court earlier this year, successfully challenging the administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. ncaap and others we successfully
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challenged the sweeping north carolina bill that is thought to eliminate means of participation used by more than one million voters. working with the center and others we are challenging a florida law that denies the right to vote to returning citizens with past felony convictions based solely on inability to pay outstanding costs, fees and reconstituent -- restitution and my testimony will focus on recent let gas station under section 2 of the voting rights act. as detailed in my statement, 4 points stand out, first recent litigation under section 2 of the vra demonstrates the need for the voting rights advancement act, while the current administration has not filed a single case under the vra private litigants have won more than 2 dozen section 2 cases since shelby county was decided, that volume of
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successful 2 litigation illustrates the continuing problem of racial discrimination in voting today. second, despite those successes, we currently lack the tools necessary to stop discriminatory changes to voting laws before they change an election, discriminatory laws that we have ultimately succeeded in blocking have remained in effect for mounts or even years while litigation has proceeded time in which elections have been held and government officials were elected. the north carolina case you've heard so much about today, the law that we challenged eliminated one week of early voting in which 900,000 people had voted in 2012, same day registration nearly 100,000 voters had used and preregistration which 50,000 voters had used before that election. the law also ban the use of many forms of government issued photo id for voting purposes including student id cards, municipal id cards and public assistance id's
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as chairman cohen and mr. johnson noted, the fourth circuit found that law targeted african-american voters, quote, almost surgical precision and found it unconstitutional. that case took $5.9 million including expert fees and attorney time and 34 months to litigate, in the interim 2014 general election took place and 190 federal and state government officials were elected on what was later determined to be unconstitutional regime. the law has been struck down but election cannot be rerun, there's no way now to compensate the voters of north carolina or our democracy itself for that gross injustice and that's just one example, my written testimony details 10 section 2 cases since shelby county in which obtained favorable outcomes for the clients but only after a dozen elections were held and 350 federal state and local officials were elected
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under discriminatory laws. the vra would address this problem in two ways, with new preclearance provision based on rolling formula accounting for recent voting rights violation and preliminary injunctions in section 2 cases, both would help discriminatory laws before election. third, overall, the bulk of section 2 litigation happened at the local level which changes to voting law are difficult to monitor, vra transparency and notice requirement, fourth and finally a handful of states formerly covered states, indicates adverting discrimination in certain areas and particularly strong protections are justified in those places. congress has a duty to take strong action to fulfill the promise of the reconstruction
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amendments, that all americans should be free to participate free from racial discrimination, thank you, i look forward answering any questions you have today. >> thank you, mr. ho. next witness is mr. jay christian adams here before us, previously, president of general counsel, 2005 to 2010 he worked in voting section of the united states department of justice, prior to his time at the justice department he served as general counsel in south carolina to south carolina secretary of state. law degree from university of south carolina school of law, you're recognized for 5 minutes. >> thank you very much chairman nadler, chairman cohen, ranking member johnson, legal foundation dedicate today preserving election integrity in the constitutional decentralization of powers so states may administer in election, i'm presenting evidence of voter discrimination that i have been working on, the first is the
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case recently decided by the ninth circuit in july, i represented retired air force major dave davis, major davis served in guam and decided to live there, guam governed by federal organic act of 1950, the organic act bans racial discrimination voting and incorporates the protections of the 15th amendment, nevertheless the legislature of guam passed an election law confining the right to vote in a status to preferred racial group called native inhabitants, guam imposed voter qualifications based on blood ancestry much like the oklahoma grandfather clauses struck down by the supreme court over century ago. congress requires guam to adhere to civil rights obligation in 15th amendment and other federal statutes but ironically guam also received over $300,000 in federal funds from the
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department of the interior to conduct education campaigns about this very same racial discriminatory voting process, that's something congress can fix, when dave davis sought to register to vote at government office registration form was marked void by election officials, the form is in my written record, in my written statement. even in the jim crow south of the early 1960's, southern registrars were not brazen enough on having wrong racial blood. we filed suit in federal court way back in 2011 and the case is still continuing because guam has been zealous in defending the laws, so blatant that district court in guam ran subject and despite this discrimination, not a single
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civil rights organization offered to help mr. davis. despite long inventory of voting case that is we know about, not even a single rights organizations filed in this case. in some voting cases such as challenges like south carolina voter id, the same groups managed to duplicate, triple despite the fact that not a single person was disenfranchised by the south carolina voter id law, why is this important? it is important that reauthorization of the voting rights act if it occurs it's not done in a way that affects partisan interest because all too often civil rights enforcement is also about partisan interest. to add insult to injury, mr. davis could not even get the united states department of justice to help him in 2011, his pleas were ignored by the civil rights division. no case was filed on his behalf, no amicus file today help him, no nothing. even after the ninth court of
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appeals in 2005 rule that he had right case, the justice department failed to act. oddly, finally justice department did what they should have done 6 years earlier. congress can do something. for one stop public funding of racially discriminatory public information campaign, congress has exclusive power in territories and can stop this. the second example which i will briefly mention involves a common wealth of virginia canceling citizen registrations, in other words, citizens are having their voter registrations canceled in virginia, we found this out when we began to inquire about records regarding noncitizens, we found the common wealth routinely canceling citizens.
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in some there are things congress can do, first of all, re-examine the interplay between motor voter dmv laws and election officials. the dmv part of motor voter is hid from the public because congress hid it. secondly, congress' shielded state motor vehicle departments and the shield should go away, third, congress should strengthen obligations for election officials to be transparent, we are currently suing the state of pennsylvania, north carolina and harris county, texas because they're not allowing public inspection of election records in those 3 places. fourth, congress should allow states to verify citizenship, thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you, mr. adams. mr. pérez, center for justice at nyu. author of national recognized reports and articles, urging threat, the right to vote, 9 citizens voting, election day
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long lines. lecture in law at colombia. law degree from colombia, also public interest fellow, received master in kennedy school of government and undergraduate, you're recognized. >> thank you, committee members for having, i'm mirna pérez, nyu school of law, the supreme court in shelby county left congress with critical challenge, half revised coverage formula, accordingly we ask this committee to take note, a number of state and local jurisdictions have continued to implement discriminatory voting laws, they have continued to disenfranchise people of color in the election, in fact, over the past decade the brennan center has documented wave of new laws especially targeting communities
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of color. these on going to the problems demand a thoughtful and strong response. section 5 of the voting rights act reflects an important insight, state and local officials looking to suppress the vote, have a wide variety of tools and tactics at their disposal. i go through some of the tools and tactics during my written testimony but the one i will focus on here is that of voter purchase can aggressively and unfairly target voters of colors and disenfranchise large numbers of eligible citizens. refer to process election officials use to try and remove the names of eligible voters from voter registration list, obviously this process is an important part of any election official's job, they ensure that the voter rules are active today something we agree is useful, however, when they are done improperly they disenfranchise legitimate voters and undermine in democratic process, moreover
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improper purges can lead to discriminatory results, sometimes by mistake and sometimes on purpose, for example, reports indicate that new york's purge disproportionately affected latino voters, so did florida's 2012 purge attack. prior to shelby, jurisdictions were required to clear changes before implementing them, not anymore, what do we see, between 2014 and 2016 states removed almost 16 million voters from the role, that's almost 4 million more than states removed between 2006 and 2008. that is increase of 33% far outstripping registered voters and total population. research suggest that is shelby county had notable impact on the growth, prior to shelby county, jurisdictions subject to preclearance had purge rates in line with the rest of the country, but for the 3 election cycles ending in 2014, 2016 and
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2018, in other words after shelby county, preclearance jurisdictions had significant higher purge rates than other jurisdictions. to put another way, before shelby county jurisdictions looked like the rest of the country when it cames to purges but after formerly covered jurisdiction increased purge rates while everyone else remained about the same, we calculated that 2 million fewer voters would have been purged between 2012 and 2016 if jurisdictions previously subject to preclearance had purged at same rate as other jurisdictions, we have seen several improper purges in shelby, just this year, for example, a federal court stepped in to stop texas officials from purging 95,000 vote fester the role, texas initially claimed these people were noncitizens but the state relied on bad methodology, new york wrongly deleted more than a hundred thousand names from roles. that same year, state with purge list of 800,000 of names.
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happens behind close doors with stroke of keyboard, voters don't know that they've been purged until they show up to vote because they are below the public radar, it is difficult to address the effects of bad purges until it is too late, and that is why section 5's preclearance process is well tailored to address not only voter discrimination and other reforms but the purge problem specifically because revitalized preclearance regime that require covered jurisdictions to obtain approval for new purge practices before they get into place, the need for preclearance is particularly urgent in light of development over the last decade, we have new databases popping up which supposedly identify ineligible voters but producing flawed reports, states are passing new laws looking for ways to purge people. certain groups are pushing locality to increase
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aggressiveness, congress can and should also act to protect voters, the supreme court has repeatedly affirmed congressional power to enact coverage formula for section 5 preclearance including in shelby county decision itself, we urge congress to revitalize the vra and i'm very much looking forward to the questions. >> our final witness ms. natalie, senior staff attorney for rights fund based in anchorage, alaska office, number of litigation management committee, group for practice covers wide variety of federal indian law and election law issues including vra and protections, instrumental in establishing key voter protections in alaska, two significant cases and testified in congress in support of renewal of vra in 2006, magna cum laude graduate of harvard
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university and received a law degree from harvard as well, member of the chickasaw nation, you're recognized for 5 minutes. >> can you help her? >> faulty machine. >> thank you very much. my name is natalie, i'm a citizen of the chickasaw nation, i'm here today in my capacity as a staff attorney at native american fund, held this position since 2003 and worked on cases since 2006, i thank you for the invitation to speak here today, to speak on ongoing voter discrimination in indian country because there's a lot and it is e -- egregious.
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there's direct impediments to polling places and access to voting is a thing of the past and that view is wrong, first generation barriers are not gone and this month in support of this testimony the american rights fund will be submitting support on 9 field hearings we have conducted in indian country and show the extent of barriers and including testimony from voters who said they were forced to vote in an abandoned chicken coup with 8 boxes remaining behind and voters who claim that they had been forced to vote in the sheriff's station with sheriff who ran plates before they walked inside. i want to address 3 things in my testimony today briefly, first i want to talk about how the loss of preclearance has affected our work and impacting your constituents, second, i want to talk about what previously covered jurisdictions are now doing and, third, i want to talk a little bit about known practices coverage which is included in the draft of the vra, first the lost of
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preclearance means that the burden has shifted from the jurisdictions onto the voters themselves, what i mean is that they previously had to submit them to doj and now we have to sue to get them undone, it is enormously burdensome and in an average voting case, small organization will spend thousands of hours over several years and over $1 million to stop a single discriminatory voting change. and what ends up happening is that because native americans have brought 95 votes cases approximately and won 92.5% of the time, it's that the jurisdictions end up paying our attorneys' fees and shifting the cost to taxpayer so taxpayers end up subsidizing the discrimination that's occurring by local officials. this tells us, the success rate that discrimination is real and ongoing. second, the loss of preclearance means that the previously covered jurisdictions implement to discriminatory changes that it had previously been denied,
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one example, of course, the arizona ballot harvesting law. the reason that it is critical in indian country is only 18% of native americans out have home-mail delivery, so what they would have to do pull ballots, neighbor would collect all of your mail and take it to post office at the same time and this law turns them into potential felons for handling voted or unvoted ballot that did not have their name on it. the other thing that happened in this jurisdiction after the loss of preclearance was the testimony indicated and this is currently in litigation, there was an astounding step removing polling locations from hundreds, down to about 60 in 2016, the result according to testimony was lines 4 to 6 hours long and this can be found specifically in the arizona field transcript that is we will be providing complete with locations and names of witnesses.
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i want to speak briefly the fact that there are some bad actors everywhere, we talk about how people feeling like certain states are targeted, that is not true, the known practices formula in the known practices list i should say in this bill will help, let me give you an example, california, system testified that they were unable to register to vote in northern california because local jurisdiction considered mobile home and not permanent residence and therefore people on indian reservation were not being allowed to vote, fortunately secretary of state alex padillo was since received attention. north dakota, very well publicized situation, people consider to be neutral law that's completely false, 24% of native americans have no id, the court said it best, you need an id to get an id in north dakota, most of the elderly native americans were born at home, so
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they don't have birth certificates from 20's, 30's and 40's and they can't get the documents they need not to mention the significant number of them have no access to transportation. so i would like to close by saying that the known practices section list these people but so does the component bill that we have drafted based on our field hearings and the findings therein called the native american voting rights act and encourages committee to pass vra and native american voting rights act. >> thank you. >> first, i would like to complement our panel, first panel i think i've ever witnessed that all got to 5 minutes and stopped. great. we will now proceed under questioning which is 5-minute rule of questions and i will recognize myself for the questions. mr. ho, you mentioned some jurisdictions where two cases
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had taken place, holder -- shelby v. holder, where are those jurisdictions, are they predominantly in any particular class of jurisdiction? >> so there have been 26 successful section 2 cases since shelby county versus holder and i defined where either a court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs or the party settled and the plaintiffs got some of the relief. some or all of the relief that they sought. .. ..
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>> we're all in the old confederacy arizona. >> as far as fully covered states go i believe that's right but were partially covered states, californiaand new york that were not . >> partially covers multiple jurisdictions. >> that'scorrect . >> and those were the state where most of this amendment to action took place. >> that's correct. >> though the old expression
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in dixie old times there are not forgotten are accurate. >> i think the numbers speak for themselves. >> mister perez on purchase what are some of the reasons for the purchase? >> there are a lot of reasons for purges, some of them are necessary. we want our voter rolls to be clean. people have died, people have moved, people are nolonger eligible . the problem we are seeing in this country is that purges are on the rise. the protections that were once available to the public and department of justice know about purge practices and had change are no longer available and when people are purged, they often find out on election day and it's you late. >> are some of the purchase because people haven't voted? >> a number of states have different practices that they use and every state in the
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country that is subject to the end the ra has a process by which if someone is flagged for a certain reason for removal, they can be given a notice. >> let me go back to my question. do not some jurisdictions purge you because you haven't voted in the last two years, four years, six years . >> there are some states who have policies like that . >> and are those states any particular similarities? >> no sir. but one of the things important about the preclearance provision is an account for changing practices so a state could change its practice to encapsulate more people inthe purge process . >> but did you not say shelby versus holder, purges have increased in preclearance state? >> that is correct. the state however that use a policy like for example i'm assuming you're pointing to
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ohio and the like that use a failure to vote as a trigger for sending a notice and other ones are in more places , just in the southern states. >> you're familiar with australia where it's required by law you have to vote. how do they get along, you don't have to purge anybody? >> i'm not familiar with how they end law but what is important in this country is we have a continuing evidence of discrimination and congress has vast authority to be able to rectify that pursuant to its authority under the 15th amendment . >> to sense the suspension of section 5 flickr preclearance , it's a case of litigation or section to which we discussed which fully covered your jurisdictions. have you seen preclearance states that in the previous voting rights act were more
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active than had been found in your litigation to have been practiced? >> against my colleague sittinghere at the table had certainly had to engage in much greater activity in section 2 litigation and my colleague dale ho , bush art shows the degree to which there's been any for section 2 litigation in jurisdictions that were previously precleared or had a preclearance regime when the justice department and i also, there's been a start market contrast with the justice department under the trump administration which has not opened a single voting rights investigation. as for private litigants, the effort now to become aware of hyper local changes which are often very hard to detect at the national level has become imperative to be able to protect people's rights to vote and that's whywe're here today to urge restoration of voting rights acts .
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>> you are recognized for five. >> thank you mister chairman, mister adams i want you with a pensive expression on your face the last few moments . is there anything you want to respond to before i asked questions ? >> i apologize for my having a poker-faced. a couple states were left off the list of states under the old preclearance regime. it's not all dixie. it's south dakota, alaska, newhampshire, michigan , parts of new york, they were covered. new york city but that translates into new york state when it comes to rules that are passed in albany related to the elections in new york so it's not just mississippi and south carolina. >> thanks for that clarification. it's not often in this era that a federal appeals court hasfound purposeful dissemination based on race and voting the ninth circuit
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court of appeals did just that in the case you describe . and you elaborate a little bit more on the significance of that ninth circuit decision and how it compares to any other recent federal courts, federal appeals court rulings of intentional race dissemination and voting? >> the case in guam that i talked testified about, you can literally have on the voter registration form a love ancestry test, it's on the folder. you have to save your parents are. and it says you have to have the right line before you can vote. and the court in the ninth circuit ruled this is intentional discrimination . we often hear, and i understand that circuit courts prompt district courts but we oftenhear about the surgical precision quote . we hear that over and over on a but the reality that really bears reading is the lower court ruling which i understand was reversed , but it was a rare , many hundred page factual finding that there was not intentional discrimination. it is not often an appeals court reverses factual findings but they did in that case .
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>> has never been easier to voting this country, in other words it seems we've made a lot of progress on access to voting. i wonder if you elaborate on that. >> i think there's awareness among elected officials at the state level about the importance of making it easier to register to vote. i testified to this committee or maybe it was to the oversight committee and it is never been easier to register to vote in americaand is in 2019 . it has never been easier to vote in america that it isn't was 19. >> when an illegally cast votes needed the effect of a legally cast votes, concentrate a suppression of voting as many other books suppression efforts. can you describe how measures to protect the integrity of the vote are measures designed to protect about? >> i don't buy the idea that you can't get it right. you can have clean voter rolls, youcan have integrity and everybody gets a chance to vote .
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i think for example voter id should be free and easy to get and that's why the south carolina voter id law should never have beenobjected to by the older justice department . there was a failsafe mechanism and in the end we know what the outcome of that was read the district court even though the burden is reversed. that's what section 5 does is reversed the burdens. the district courts still ruled in favor of south carolina and said despite the millions of dollars spent by the groups fighting, and saying it wasdiscriminatory , the court ruled that was not. and so an example of how section 5 can the abuse is reauthorized. >> i think i have one more time for one more question about the guam case. it was only the trump justice department that was able to help major davis in his case against guam. what was going on during the previous administration it would protect his right to vote? >> does not answers except in the inspector general's report where the report said he was. the ninth circuit put that to
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rest in 2015 and said the case was right. we saw two years of inactivity, not even an amicus brief to help this brazen voter discrimination. if you look at the record of the bush justice department, obama justice department and the number of cases tried you will see clearly the bush justice department was far more active and section 2 enforcement and i testified in previoustestimony to this committee, section 2 enforcement from 2009 the 20 17th virtually went to sleep . >> you got 30 seconds left. >> why didn't any of the other groups assembled at the table today do anything about the cases you mentioned? do you have a theory about that? >> i questioned the committee if you're reauthorizing the voting rights act to not make it partisan and in some corners of the voting rights act is used at a partisan level. professor ellen katz of michigan i believe she wrote this even said that the justice department should use
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the voting rights act as a partisan weapon obviously against this side of the room so i think that's the danger when you see voter id is being attacked, that's how it's viewed. >> i'm out of time, i feel that. >> i'll recognize mister nadler so we have the facts straight. i have made statements about states except arizona, the only state covered in a whole lot of the whole confederacy is alaska and in other states its local jurisdictions which i also mentioned our local jurisdictions . i apologize for forgetting alaska, for not knowing about the wall. you are recognized. >> i will comment on the obvious infraction that has nothing to do with what we're talking about. ithink it was pretty egregious . let me ask esther ho, my hearing last week in memphis, the minority witness was constrained in his ability to adopt legislation that
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reinvigorate section 5, notwithstanding his power to the 14th and 15th amendment. essentially because the current level of discrimination is not severe enough, justifies federal interference that state and local elections because congress looks at evidence of discriminatory effect , not just discriminatory purpose . what is your response? is not within a variety terminate not only the issues of discrimination but those who essentially is dissemination on severe to justify a federal legislative response? >> i believe congress doesn't back out the ability and lighting for cliniciansto reinvigorate a voting like . the supreme court's in city of boerne, issued a decision that creates a rule that congress want to enforce or exercise for the amendment, must be a record of constitutional violations. i think we have that here.
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and i think that the section to evidence that i referenced earlier although a violation of section 2 is not require a judicial finding of intentional unconstitutional discrimination. a test for liability under section 2 result test is quite similar to a test of the supreme court announced in rogers versus hodge unconstitutional voting discrimination. we heard a little bit of commentary about thedisparate impact standards, i want to say something about that . this congress adopted section 2 result tendered in 1982. signed into law by president ronald reagan. it did not appear disparate impact standards, liability depends on factors tailored to the factors finding of unconstitutional discrimination was adopted specifically because progress didn't want but judges, this is an 82 congressional record, it wasn't but judges in the difficult position of having to call legislators in their county or state racists. you have to call out their intent but it functions a lot like an infant test and it
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would be perverse today section 2 violation which are attempted to make it easier for courts to strike down discriminatory laws and say that's not relevant in assessing whether or not constitutional violations occurred and whether or not slumber congressional action is compared . >> when he asked you miss gupta, your testimony last week, we can testimony all over the place but to the effect that enforcing a law resection to litigation strengthens so many very expensive, even if you win the case you spend $2 million and so forth, what you think of legislation to oppose all costs? all costs on the defendant government if it loses its section 2 clause? >> so just start out it is indeed incredibly costly and time-consuming. i think the most pernicious fact of the loss of the
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preclearance regime and the amount of section to litigation that's been required has actually been the number of elections have taken place pursuant to laws that have later been found federal courts that have been enacted to intentional discrimination as well as violations of a constitutional and federal law and there's no accountability or mechanism to actually seek that withdrawal because those elections have taken place and voters were penalized unlawfully for that. but the honest question of course, interesting idea. i think one of the major issues around the loss of section 5 has been the inability to hold officials accountable when they do engage even in intentional discrimination in the enactment of laws and so this notion of class and shifting the burden of cost i think is an interesting remedy to pursue. i don't think it's a
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substitute for preclearance be able to have somedifferent mechanisms in place , such that officials can entice hopefully the constitution and something else that i think about when they're connecting these subsets, that's something to be desired. >> and that in the 27th and i have left, would you support amending section 1983 where you use of, would you allow the justice department to sue local officials for voting rights violation? >> or deprivations rights under law affect. >> that's a really interesting, i'll have to come back to it with my thoughts on it. section 1983 is definitely a frequent civil rights statute to be used in policeman misconduct context and there are accountability and maybe another tool is under disposal. as you know, the supreme court has withered down section 1983 to sections and i would welcome the opportunity to talk about the importance of opening section 1983.
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by congress. >> thank you very much, i feel bad. >> i'll recognize for five minutes mister colbert of texas. >> appreciate the witnesses being here. just so that we can inform our full committee chairman who said that the guam information is not relevant, to anything you here, the subject of this hearing is according to the democrats, evidence of current and ongoing voting discrimination . and i hear that the form we used in balaam, it is relevant in this decade that we would have a form like this and not one of the groups represented here would go stand up and say this is absolutely intolerable to make somebody through and even down to the mother and father of both parents,
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certifying you are related in 1950. it is prejudicial to the groups of chinese , japanese, pompeii and, the accordion , all of those that were not there in 1950 and i appreciate the looks i'm getting from some of our witnesses but it really is embarrassingthat nobody stepped up . i would call a black integration case that occurred when you were there at the justice department. you allowed to go ahead and get judgments against those people were intimidating and election site? >> iconfess i tried to forget about that case but i'll do my best . i'm just asking, would you allow. >> the case was dismissed as to i believe two defendants and incorporate defendants, i think the man, that mister
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jackson was dismissed against the defense. >> and you were notallowed to pursue that . >> there a long record there. >> you mentioned this incident in guam where the justice department under the obama administration would not go in and say this is wrong. we can't have these kind of forms. matter what your races,you ought to be able to come in and vote . who was head of the civil rights section at that time in 2012?>> that's a good question. i'm not sure exactly who was the head of the assistant attorney general. i know that after the inspector general questions were directed toward the voting section chief, they said that brightness was the barrier. >> i know you just had that but i know tom perez was there at some point. >> he may have been the hhs. >> where is he now? >> dnc. >> that's right.
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there are chairman golden draconian by voter id laws and i know she's apparently not aware i know i read in 2012 the democratic national convention would not allow anyone to come in and vote unless they had in their words a state issued id. wow. the democratic national convention is using and has used in this decade a draconian voter id requirements. that's incredible. having gone through john prine's book stealing elections, john don makes the point that the greatest election fraud is the statement that there is no election fraud. it goes, it's gone on for
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years for those that don't know. you can go back and look at all county in texas. or cook county in illinois. it has gone on and there are places it still goes on and anytime we allow people to vote without showing some evidence that they are allowable to vote, it disenfranchises all of the legally voting people. and people that vote more than once. anyway, there are a lot of problems that need to be dealt with and it's just amazing to me, let me tell you. back when this was reauthorized, i wanted to vote for the voter approval, for the vra. itneeded to be reauthorized . but none of you have brought up it had a formula that required punishing states for what had happened 50 years before. generations were being
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punished and i went to the republican leader at that point of this committee, mister steinbrenner and there was as i recall a district in wisconsin that had racial disparity and he said we're not changing that 50-year-old formula. we're going to keep punishing the original states and i went to john conyersand he was very gracious . he said let me talk to some people and he did. he said you got a point were going to be able to get it passed. let's let it go to the courts. i said it's going to be struck down and i named some very liberal people including the dean of the new york law school that just left there and he said yes, it's got to be struck down. it's unconstitutional. for those not aware, we should not be punishing generations for this ends of 50 year before generations. that is where we ought to be able to come together, let's deal with racial disparity where it is. and then allow section 5 of
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those but i was not allowed to have that as an amendment. that's why we are here with you blaming shelby county. ifeel that . >> mister raskin. >> thank you very much. we just heard from my bottle probably about how southern states were punished under the voting rights act. he repeatedly use the word punishment. was there any punishment in the voting rights act before the shelby county case the mark did anybody go to jail? was anybody imprisoned because of voting rights violation after mark. >> was no punishment in the way you describe but congressman raskin, i wanted to say in response to congressman gomez, i appreciate the comments about the need to have a preclearance provision that reflects conditions and i think the voting rights advancement is based on
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findings of recent voting rights violations, does precisely that and i hope we can come together and pass something and i appreciated yoursupport for the voting rights act in 2006 and i hope to see your support for stronger voting rights protections today . >> miss gupta, let me come to you. if somebody robs a bank or gas station, they're going to be prosecuted and go to jail for that. or convicted. today, the lake of shelby county versus holder, if the state engages in a deliberate effort to suppress voting rights or to keep people from voting or to dilute the votes of a minority group, what happens? >> well, as we said, often getting to those decisions or determinations for federal court will clear that, it takes years of litigation. >> so many years later after the offense has takenplace,
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what happens ? >> there is no accountability for statement officials that enacted laws that were found to be racially discriminatory. >> nobody goes to jail but what about the actual voting rights violation in the meantime ? >> i only have four minutes, i'd be happy to do it at the outset . >> but what happens in the meantime? in other words, you go to now in the absence of preclearance requirements, you go to court many years later, maybe you get a ruling but in the meantime there have all of these elections that have taken place with the votingrights violation in forced . so what can be done retroactively to make the democracy will? >> there is nothing, voters have essentially been disenfranchised. >> let's be clear about this, when the supreme court wiped out the preclearance requirements because of the coverage provision in section
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4, essentially what it did was knock the teeth out of the voting rights act because there's nothing to keep a jurisdiction now from engaging in a voting rights violation because nobody's going to go to jail for it and even if the people who bring the case, the plaintiffs win several years later, all you would get is in order to stop doing it in the future. in the meantime you've had these elections that have essentially been fixed by the fraud of the voting rights suppression and dilution discrimination. >> mister johnson, let me continue. before leaving that naacp you are president in the mississippi conference, mri? which mississippi has the highest percentage of african-americans in any state in the union. the state has not elected an african-american statewide and more than 130 years hence reconstruction. in fact, the mississippi constitution requires candidates to win not only more than 50 percent of the population or a plurality of the population but more than half of the states, 120
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legislative districts. two thirds of which are majority white, do i have that right? >> that is correct. >> if the candidate doesn't meet both of those conditions winning a majority in the election and then winning more than half the state legislators, then the statehouse chooses the winner regardless of who got the most votes, do i have that right? >> that is correct . >> 'sis being challenged in court right now. now, why would this constitutional requirement put into place in the first place? what is the historical origin? >> much of mississippi's electoral policy is derived out of the constitution of 1890. that constitution was after up here we call redemption when formal confederate soldiers and politicians took back control of government. as a result they put in place systems to subjugate the
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ability of african-americans to fully participate, not only the grandfather clauses and other literacy tests but additional barriers because i've been as it is now, mississippi had the highest percentage of african-americans and they wanted to keep in place -- >> how has the corresponding lack ofafrican-american representation statewide affected the social economic and political rights development of african-americans ? >> not only is mississippi the poorest state in the union but underfund the basic needs of african-americans, we have the poorest education system, or if doctors and that's a result of the lack of representation of all citizens of the state causeof the electoral barriers >> ideal that . >>. >> mister klein, the successor in interest. mister good lacks before that, mister caldwell butler.
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>> caldwell butler is the one mister chairman. >> i am very interested in mister adams story about the events that were occurring and i want to ask him about that but first, i really am shocked to hear that this type of activity that occurred and while is occurring in the 21st century and this just in the clear, let me go down the road really quickly, just yes, sir no. miss gupta would you agree that that type of discrimination is an unacceptable in the united states? >> i unfortunately cannot a matter that was under investigation during my full tenure in the justice department . >> mister johnson, yes, sir no, unacceptable? >> i don't know much about the case but if there is a grandfather clause, that is something that we all care
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about. >> the ninth circuit found a violation of the 15th amendment . >> keep going, yes. >> i am hesitant to answer to definitively given the re-imagination of some of the cases that we have heard here today, but i will say that the facts as presented suggest a clause we would be opposed to. >> i'm not going to opine on the case that i know nothing about but i wanted to add i find it embarrassing that almost half this house doesn't seem equally as disturbed by native americans driving 98 miles one way to register. i'd like you to focus on that for a while. >> you focus on a form displayed that was blatantly discriminatory. in application for an election. in the territory of the united states in the 21st century. and it is disturbing, and i
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can't get more unanimity that it is unacceptable. mister adams, you talk about virginia, youtalked about the voter role , how it contributes to noncitizens not only getting on voter rolls but also the improper elimination of citizens from virginia's voter rolls, can you elaborate on that and what we can do about it? >> thank you mister klein. my organization has been data mining across the country the process of noncitizen cancellation and we have found and published multiple reports in pennsylvania for example , frankly of immigrants and green cardholders who were inadvertently getting on the voter role. this is not a conspiracy, this is a glitch and in pennsylvania's case was a glitch that affected the entire commonwealth for 20 years. what is happening is when they vote they jeopardize
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immigration status. in virginia the problem was even worse than noncitizens getting on the whole, it was citizens being canceled through the citizenship process in virginia. individuals who were american citizens were being declared noncitizens by state election officials. being removed from the rolls. this is a problem congress needs to addressbecause the motor voter system is broken . it is not working because of technology changes in the last 30 years since motor voter 25 years since it was it is important i believe that only citizens the on the roles and their easy way to fix that. cooperate with state officials, federal governments, state officials cooperate to post registration to verify citizenship . allow states to use some form of citizenship verification thatis nonintrusive, easily salt . >> mister chairman, i deal back the balance of my time.
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>> thank you mister klein. miss cameron, you're recognized. >> the ranking members openly but evidence of disparate impact is not proof of discrimination and i have to differ based on our experience is in the commonwealth of pennsylvania. a decade ago pennsylvania's legislature and executives pass a number of voter suppression measures which has since been struck down including eight strict voter id law and some of wildly gerrymandered electoral max. this legislation was neutral but it had a disparate impact on voterswho were poor, elderly, women , residents and cities, people of color area in other words voters who were overwhelmingly democratic. i would submit that disparate impact was evidence of
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identity politicsof the most pernicious kind which is trying to suppress the votes of citizens on the basis of their political identity. that's democrat . in challenging the voter id law in particular, advocates were fortunate in being able to uncover a recording of the house majority leader bragging to the statewide republican committee that his legislative accomplishments included, and this was 2012 , quote, voter id which is going to allow governorromney to win the state of pennsylvania . so i am not so nacve as to believe that those who would suppress the vote will always be soindiscreet . i'd like to ask miss perez, can you address what kind of evidence we use to show disparate impact to show that there's actual discrimination occurring in these voting cases? >> under section 2 we have what many of us call a disparate impact was candor whereby congress in his wisdom set forth a series of factor that are designed to smoke out intentional
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discrimination because folks are exactly as members can one noted, a little bit more discreet. and that evidence is in fact prove it if of what people are intending to do if they felt like they could get away with it. in addition, we have the continuing evidence of current conditions which would justify section 5 of the voting rights act in unrealized voting rights act that includes a coverage formula that is rolling, dynamic and looks at a number of factors , both geographically and in terms of conditions that cause problems so taken together, a voting rights act has a robust section 5, a modern section 4 and a strong section to will be going a long way in rooting out racial discrimination. >> thank you. miss gupta, when acting attorney general whitaker was
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here, i asked him whether the trump department of justice and brought any voting rights enforcement action and he was unable to recall that . is it your testimony that the trump administration has not acted to protect voting rights acts in any case since january 2017 -mark. >> that's correct. >> if you wouldn't mind if i could just very quickly respond to something that is somewhat galling at the table at the moment. something that mister adams said. those of us at the table know mister adams recently had to enter a settlement agreement in which he was forced to apologize for reports that contain inaccurate information about specific individuals removed from voter rolls in virginia, the matter was talking about allegedly because they were noncitizens and i feel it is important toput that into the record . >> thank you. one more follow-up question, location of polling places has been an issue in my district and toward that end
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he introduced the disability voting rights acts which passed with hr one and would make it easier for individuals with disabilities including seniors andveterans to register , obtain absentee ballot ballots and access polling places. i do describe how the locations of polling stations and their degree of accessibility present voting rights challenges for minority communities and i think you got some information in your report that came out. >> we do, there's been a lot of enforcement on the part of both private organizations and the justice department and prioradministrations around the lack of acceptable polling places . and so there's a lot of work to be done, that's been a rigorous area of our work. i will say is important to note that closing polling places because of ada noncompliance really should be something of last resort
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because there are many ways to actually make polling places more accessible including things like creating physical parking for temporary signage, you get same-day modifications that can be made . building temporary ramps and the like and a number of instances, that's exactly how accessibility is improved, without resulting in the need to close polling places to begin with. >> thank you, i deal back. >> this armstrong, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you misterchairman and mister adams . i would give you an opportunity, i know you talked about the testimony and i'll give you an opportunity to respond. >> i discussed this at some length in my written testimony. miss gupta's assertion that mister adams was forced to apologize is wrong. mister adams chose to apologize for our organization relying on election records which stated that noncitizens in virginia were being removed from the roles when in fact we discovered that those were actually citizens and i would note that this gupta's
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organization has done absolutely nothing about it isn't being removed from the voter rolls whereas our organization is attempting to fix the problem . as part of a settlement in the case, nobody was forced to do anything and there was nofindings in the liability . >> and then i just want to go into this motor voter issue a little bit, primarily because we're dealing with often times people who english is not their first language and continue to move through this and by automatically getting added to the roles, we run into these election cycles and they get unbelievably competitive. it doesn't matter if it's democrats or republicans. people are running hot, volunteers are out there but there's another part of this and i'll back up to the north dakota story in the second but if they registered to vote, or get into those situations, doesn't that impact their ability to become a citizen later after
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mark. >> absolutely, it's less than 12 on the ins form in question 12 says have you ever registered to vote, ever voted in what's happening is we are planning through public records request is that those individuals are not citizens who got caught up in this broken motor voter system are jeopardizing their immigration status. you would think everybody would care about this but as we seen today that's not the case. what is happening there jeopardizing their immigration status so noncitizens are getting on the roles, they are voting . even harvesting for their please take me off the roles, their self deportation from the voter rolls if you will. where they bought their registering for something else . they didn't understand for . it wasn't in the language in allegheny county pennsylvania that i spoke is not covered by 203 a system has flaws in it that we're attempting to catalog and fix. occasionally there. >> on the way like relying on virginia we would assume not that they were citizens but
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they are. >> so my wife is not a citizen. she's a permanent resident alien and she comes from norway and it's a little different situation but in a state that doesn't have voter registration, they attempted to deal with this at the state legislature . her idealooks identical to mine . it is absolutely, there's no situation, it is absolutely an honor system and so obviously she's married to a politician and we can judge her for that in her own right but we know the laws and we know wherethat she can walk into north dakota and both at any time and people wouldn't know the difference . now we're different, where the only state without voter registration so it truly is an issue. and then i would just, i'm going to end this and i agree, we need to make it easier. i'm getting a lot of calls on
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real id north dakota cause as with all things people wait until the last minute. we need to make it easier for people in situations whether their native americans or elderly in general to be able to prove their idea and work for it and i'd like to say, there's a preliminary injunction issued in the north dakota case by the eighth circuit supreme court chose not to take it up and there was a mechanism and timing as to when that decision came out and it's incredibly problematic in the 2018 auction. and regardless of policy or anything like that, i believe this that the organizations who went to work and activated on the native american reservation in north dakota to ensure that people did get ideas and vote because they turned out regardless of how difficult it was, they turned out in absolute record numbers in 2018 and it shouldn't be that
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hard to get an id and we should continue particularly witholder people and the birth certificate is a real issue and it's a real issue in rural america and it's exponentially , i mean, it's magnified on the native american reservations and i recognize that but they should be commended and iknow this all well, most of them didn't vote for me and they should be absolutely commended for what they got done in a short time so with that i deal back . >> how do you do it in north dakota if you don't have voterregistration ? everybody ison the roles, how do you do it ? >> we have a 30 day residency requirements and all you have to do is show an id. it's a point of consternation but there's no voter registration, you have to have a valid id and proof of address . >> for the record, i've had a lot of constituents concerned that the new government id requirements is something to do that knocking people from having the right to vote, that's not at all true, is it ? >> we're running into problems, one i think in fairness people wait to the
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last minute to get there id so there's long delays and a hobby opportunity to do it and providing the documentation get the real id versus yourregular driver drivers license, this is across the country . proving to be cumbersome. >> and is it that a new sisters who are hockey stars? they were in memphis last week. >> we are proud of them. >> does anybody at the panel that the new federal id law has anything to do with stopping people from voting? >> missed dean, your recognize. >> mister chairman, we're in awfully anxious times in our democracy and so when i have a fear overcome me i try to remind myself of the quote that i like from thomas jefferson. he said that things go wrong at any time, but people will set their mental rights by the peaceful exercise of
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their elected rights. so that gives me some consolation. except when we have conversations like we're having today and when we have a history of what we haveseen today. how can the people right or wrong when their elected rights revertto my, jefferson architect , we can , or thwarted in many ways. miss landreth, you mentioned several common tactics seen since the shelbydecision . areas barriers to voter registration, constant early voting, purchase of voter rolls, strict identification, last-minute polling place closures or consolidations. can you tell us of the frequency of some of these implementations? i'm thinking if we reflect back on 2018 and also your concern for 2020 -mark. >> people the question. we just today released a report at the leadership conference education fund number of pole closures
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around the country in the shelby county decision and found that about 2000 hundred 88 all closures since the shelby county decision in jurisdictions that were previously coveredby section 5 of the voting rights act . these are the kinds of hyper local changes that would have required preclearance by the justice department. not because they were automatically going to be deemed as racially discriminatory actually to allow for analysis and evaluation of whether it would create a disparate impact on voter language, minorities but also to provide notice, advanced notice to voters about where these places have been moved. an abundance of evidence to litigation that my colleague has mentioned that has taken years to really uncover around senatorial practices in voting and election administration that add to the current record of
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contemporary ongoing systemic racial discrimination in voting . >> thank you for that. this landreth, in addition to polling, pole closures, what are the some of the other problems we've seen that hr four would address ? >> i think there's a couple of things. one is that hr four if i'm not wrong and itdepends on how you count restrictions , it would end up protecting over 20 percent of tribes in the united states from retroactive polling practices because it would cover i believe and again, we have to check this and it depends on how you count. california which has over 100 tribes, you new york which has eight tribes and mississippi choctaw would be protected. can also some jurisdictions
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covered for 203 so it would prevent retrogression for 20 percent of native american tribes but the known practices peace would prevent the vote dilution that we've commonly seen in indian country where they've switched these jurisdictions to at-large in order to make sure you never get a seat that represent you and your community even if it's sizable and particularly the polling place closures because of is one of the things we find in indian country that is unique . i'm not sure anyone is familiar but a lot of tribes are told if they want the polling place they have to pay forit. i'd like you to try that . i'd like you to go to constituents in atlanta or california and tell them if you want to polling place you need to get us $25,000. >> is suggesting they would have to pay for it? >> there's well-known cases and i'm subject to perjury limitation, i'm not 100 percent sure but these were cases i believe in wayne county montana is one example . the other would be south dakota cases where it had become commonplace to say we don't have enough money for reelections. these cases may have been resolved but this is an issue
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where if you go to its jurisdiction and you say our tribe once a polling place on tribal lands, you'll be refused on the grounds of cost and they'll say you pay for it,you provide the poll workers and maybe will let you have one but perfecting that would be hugely valuable . and incredibly un-american. i have a few seconds left. i am a former member of the pennsylvania legislature. icame in in a special election in 2012 after voter id . i saw personally the consequences going around my district andtrying to help elderly people, young people , the area of birth certificates and all the rest so could you please explain how photo identification requirements bar americans from exercising their route right to vote? >> sure, in -10/2 . we have never found an
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individual seeking to vote under assumed names. it creates an additional barrier that's not necessary, particularly for precincts, everyone knows each other. there's very few cases of someone walking to the polling place in the poll workers don't know the individuals on top of the fact there has not been any true evidence of someone trying tounder assumed names so you create an additional barrier or a chilling effect . >> thank you very much, i see my time has expired . >> and al patiently having waited. >> saving the best for last mister chairman. first let me begin by responding to someone that my colleague from texas said, disparaging my homecounty where i was born, dufault county . he seemed sick to suggest that there was voter fraud there for many years and it
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still going on and that is simply not true. south texas including my birth county and my home county, made great efforts to clean all that up and it's not been heard, seen or witnessed any voter fraud in my birth county or my home county. of course i'm elected from harris county and i'm not going to belabor the point other than to say that i believe that the witness has sort of mischaracterized a bit of his lawsuit against harris county and access to some of the materials that he was after. but i don't want to get into that because as lyndon johnson said there is no more important rights under the constitution voting. there's who you before then. determines the freedoms and the liberties that you get fromall the other constitutional rights .
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>> thank you for bringing this together to talk about this topic. and as one who has been the recipient of a working letter, all this is very personal to me. i have been turned away from the polls, i've been brought to a hole that wasn't there, i've been to where machines work ready and youcan look at me , i don't look mexican. so you know it's based on the data that you're after sir. so please know that i take this not only as an advocate formy district , but myself and my family and my friends. so i wanted to start with you, miss pennies on this purging letter issue. what really can we do to stop this letter from going almost threatening that if you don't do something, your name is purged or how do we stop this
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flawed data that is sometimes given as it was in the texas case that you cited where the information was just wrong and all those people who were supposedly thousands of people who were registered or maybe the string was just not true. >> what can we do from here in washington in our federal laws to make sure those things just stop? >> thank you. i'm also from the great state of texas and i think texas is a bright example of the need for a robust preclearance regime because texas is one of these jurisdictions that the popping up in terms of election problems. in addition to making it harder for groups to go out and register people to vote, to have a stick photo photo id law that many of us had to spend five years challenging. aggressive prosecutions of folks who run afoul of some
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of the election laws. there's temps and voter purges. it seems like every step. >> what we can do with purges , is ensure that there is a strong preclearance regime would require that changes to the preclearance process get precleared so that it didn't have a discriminatory impact or discriminatoryeffect . we can have stricter compliance with the national voter registration act. greater public education to ensure people to check the voter registration status and we can inform election administrators that when they receive threatening emails from groups who are trying to pressure them into aggressively purging the voter rolls that theyknow that the federal government is there to prevent him . >> mister ho, on some of the testimony that you presented, i know that you thought a lot about some of the cases on the cost of litigation. you quoted 5 million, is that an average for aclu and also
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is there anything else that you wanted to respond to, any of the testimony from the general into your life? >> the 5 million was in reference to the court ordered award of attorney's fees and costs of the north carolina litigation that you heard a lot about today. it was certainly i think a more expensive and time-consuming case and is average. i don't want the committee that the average section. it's certainly on the more expensive side i want to say one thing. >> you have an average? >> i don't. you should be clear that it is very remarkable i think that mister adams was in here the other day claiming credit for protecting voters. his organization published a report titled alien invasion with the ufo on the cover hyping a cover-up of noncitizen registration in virginia. the report published the
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names and contact information of voters who were united states citizens including a los angeles board employee named luis claiming they were noncitizens and accusing them of committing felonies. a warning from governor officials that the list to use contained false positives . >> not true you was sued for defamation by those voters in the proper to come here and claim he protected theunited states . >> thank you for clearing the record. >> thank you miss garcia. i appreciate the witnesses today and all the testimony at this valuable hearing on the importance of voting rights that we have before us to set up a new standard in section 4 and we have to make, restore section 5 of the votingrights act . thank each of you. this concludes today's hearing and i want to thank all of our witnesses. i want to thank the minority for educating meabout guam . very important.
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without objection, with additional written questions for the witnesses,the hearing is adjourned . >>. [inaudible] watch our exclusive interview with house speaker nancy pelosi now online at as she discusses her relationship withpresident trump and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell . >> right now it's not senator mcconnell, senator mcconnell has made it very clear. he's not doing anything the
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president doesn't want. so that's where we are. i don't know why a leader in the senate would abdicate his responsibility, weakening the institution which he leads just because the president doesn't want it. >> interview with house speaker nancy pelosi online at or at 8 pm easterntonight on c-span . in his new book talking to strangers, author malcolm gladwell details why he thinks people make an accurate judgments about people they don't know . >> step out of the car. >> i'm going to drag you out of here. >> your fiction to drag me out of my own car. >> get out of the car! >> he's in prison for resisting arrest and two days later she hangs himself inher cell . a tragic and unexpected result but that exchange that we saw which by the way goes
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on and on and on. we saw a small snippet ofit . when i first saw that online, that was what i realized i wanted to write about because if you break that exchange down moment by moment, you see multiple failures of understanding of empathy, of 1 million things. >> sunday night at eight p.m. eastern on c-span's chewing day. >> next acting deputy tsa administrator patricia cogswell updates members of the senate transportation committee on several tsa programs and issues the agency is working to address. including thereprogramming of tsa funds for immigration detention needs . face recognition technology programs and implementation of the real idact . this is 90 minutes. >>


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